If a car is advertised, information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is mandatory. How this information must be transmitted in the context of a video clip on Facebook was decided by the Lübeck Regional Court in a ruling dated June 13, 2023.
The defendant operates a car dealership in a small town in Schleswig-Holstein. She was warned by the plaintiff, an environmental and consumer protection association, because of an advertisement on Facebook. As early as December 2019, the defendant had issued a cease-and-desist declaration to the plaintiff and undertook to refrain from advertising that did not meet the legal requirements for the presentation of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Notwithstanding, in June 2021, the defendant shared on its Facebook page a 25-second video clip advertising the latest model of a well-known car brand. After initially highlighting the benefits of the new car, the data on the vehicle’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions finally appeared after 17 seconds.
Only a few days later, the plaintiff sent the defendant another warning and claimed a contractual penalty. The Lübeck Regional Court therefore had to decide whether the video clip shared in 2021 also violated the cease-and-desist declaration.
With reference to an identical decision by the Cologne Higher Regional Court, the Regional Court came to the conclusion that the advertising clip violated the statutory transparency requirements and therefore also the cease-and-desist declaration. The video did not ensure that the recipient of the advertisement could take note of the information on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions at the same time as the information on the car’s engine was given.
It was possible that the video clip would receive only brief attention, so that the insertion of the obligatory information would not be noticed at all after 17 seconds.
The court also did not accept the defendant’s argument that the cease-and-desist declaration from 2019 concerned a specific post that was not identical to the advertising now complained of. Since here again an advertisement for a specific car was disseminated via Facebook in violation of information obligations regarding fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, the act was rather “similar to the core”.
For this reason, a contractual penalty of EUR 4,500 was to be paid.
Lübeck Regional Court, judgment of June 13, 2023, Ref.: 13 HKO 36/21
The decision is not final